Low-budget Hull City are not far off, insists Grant McCann

GRANT McCANN may admit that he is operating with one of the lowest budgets in the Championship – but he is not about to use it as an excuse for Hull City’s torrid start to 2021-22.

If spending levels count for anything in the second tier, then the sight of City currently in the relegation zone should not be the biggest surprise, given the fact that the purse strings have been tightened by the Allam family, who have been actively seeking to sell up for a number of years.

McCann, whose side visit fellow strugglers Barnsley on Saturday on the back of a five-match losing run, insists he has no issue with recruitment.

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The Tigers head coach, whose side paid the price for one lapse in concentration in their latest defeat at West Brom on Wednesday, said: “I am sure we will have one of them (lowest budgets), but that will never be an excuse for me. It has been difficult, but we feel like the recruitment has been good in the summer with what we could do.

West Bromwich Albion's Callum Robinson (centre) battles for the ball with Hull City's Greg Docherty (left) and Richard Smallwood on Wednesday (Picture: PA)

“The biggest factor was trying to keep that group together, which the owner has done magnificently. It has been well documented that we could have easily sold Keane Lewis-Potter at the start of the year, but didn’t.

“We feel as if we have a really good group. I know people will think: ‘you are losing games and haven’t done this and that.’ But this group are giving absolutely everything every single game. We are all giving everything.”

McCann is convinced that if his Hull side – beaten five times by a single-goal margin this term – can sharpen up at both ends of the pitch, then their fortunes will change, hopefully starting at Oakwell.

McCann said: “People will say it is a huge game, but for us we’ll focus on what we have to do and get the game plan right, like we did for most parts of the (West Brom).

Hull City manager Grant McCann speaks to Sean McLoughlin during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Hawthorns (Picture: PA)

“If they show that determination, structure in our shape and discipline, we will climb this league for sure. But we know we cannot make mistakes at this level. It was just one lapse of concentration and structure that was never in the game plan.”

Hull will be without Alfie Jones after he suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problem at West Brom, but McCann has stressed that he was not brought back too soon.

He added: “He ticked every single box and rushing him back would have been playing him last Saturday. It was a perfect opportunity for Alfie, we scheduled this game for him and it is just frustrating for everybody.”

West Bromwich Albion goalscorer Karlan Grant (left) and Hull City's Richard Smallwood (Picture: PA)